Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill to help her fight against Russia using digital currencies to evade sanctions. The Digital Assets Sanctions Compliance Enhancement Act was introduced at a Senate hearing about sanctioned Russian entities.
Warren says digital currencies offer a loophole to avoid punitive and other sanctions. It could be used to conceal sanctionable assets, as there is not much regulation in the crypto space. It could also be used to facilitate misdeeds by serving as a payment option. According to the senator:
“Crypto is a new payment option available for criminals and cheats. It’s how ransomware attackers collect their money with the lowest risk of being caught.”
The US Senator from Massachusetts also stated that the overwhelming majority of ransomware-related money was paid to Russia-linked individuals last year.
Warren explained that the war against Ukraine is now more urgent because it highlights the need for greater transparency in the blockchain space.
The bill was co- sponsored by ten other senators, including Mark Warner (a Democratic senator from Virginia). Warner was part the bipartisan group that included crypto tax provisions into the infrastructure bill since September 2013.
Evidently, Senator Warren’s bill was not supported by witnesses from the crypto sector. They refused to accept the senator’s claim that Russians could use digital currencies to evade sanctions.